The relief of Gordon Brown's disappearance from the news - apart from the steady unrolling of the disastrous results of his intervention of any kind in financial and economic affairs - is certainly short-lived. The announcement that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, be his occupation of that high office ever so iffy, is considering what community service work in which to engage during his hols raises emotions of pity, contempt, and a fit of giggles in more or less equal parts.
Fit of giggles because even unspecified (and certainly not asked or expected) community work is 'under discussion with aides' before he lumbers into action. Can he choose nothing without consultation and a committee? Goodness knows how long his night prayers must go on when he gets to pause before the bit '...and God bless ....'; certainly Daddy, but does Mummy make the cut? Quite a few pray for the Queen, after their families, to guide her in coping with, not least, a weird prime minister, but is she included? Should that be referred to an appointed advisory council? How about an Advisory Council on the Recipients of Requests for God's Blessing in Gordon's Prayers?
Is the man trying to ape Mr Profumo in taking up community work (if he actually does, for the committee is still considering) and hoping to repay some of the damage to political reputation he has inflicted? Not that what Mr Profumo did ever sounded other than entertaining and wholly human, whereas what Brown has done comes in the wreaking havoc category, driven by failings and deficiencies that makes us all look askance at his normality. And if Brown isn't abnormal and a few sandwiches short of a picnic etc., he's a worse person than one would give his observed intelligence and skills credit for. Sad and bad almost raises pity.
Pity, though, should be reserved for the unfortunate recipients of his community service attentions. The man who has told the Queen 'If you want an invite to the last anniversary of the D Day Landings as Commander in Chief of UK forces, I can make that happen', might be overkill for the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath Under Elevens' Performing Arts holiday group. Anyway, he hasn't got the clearances to work with minors. Loft-lagging is snatching bread from the mouths of the unemployed. Meals-on-wheels would have to be closely supervised, or some old age pensioners might find they were served with the same pudding every day until they ate up every scrap.
Passing through the eye of the community service needle calls for community skills, humility, sensitivity, willingness to follow the needs of others not dictate their requirements, and the embracing of anonymity with selflessness.
What Gordon could do though, is call a general election. That would serve every community in the country, and quite a few overseas.
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